verb (used without object)
  1. to bend the head and shoulders, or the body generally, forward and downward from an erect position: to stoop over a desk.
  2. to carry the head and shoulders habitually bowed forward: to stoop from age.
  3. (of trees, precipices, etc.) to bend, bow, or lean.
  4. to descend from one's level of dignity; condescend; deign: Don't stoop to argue with him.
  5. to swoop down, as a hawk at prey.
  6. to submit; yield.
  7. Obsolete. to come down from a height.
verb (used with object)
  1. to bend (oneself, one's head, etc.) forward and downward.
  2. Archaic. to abase, humble, or subdue.
  1. the act or an instance of stooping.
  2. a stooping position or carriage of body: The elderly man walked with a stoop.
  3. a descent from dignity or superiority.
  4. a downward swoop, as of a hawk.

Origin of stoop

before 900; Middle English stoupen (v.), Old English stūpian; cognate with Middle Dutch stūpen to bend, bow; akin to steep1
Related formsstoop·er, nounstoop·ing·ly, adverbnon·stoop·ing, adjectiveun·stooped, adjectiveun·stoop·ing, adjective

Synonyms for stoop

1. lean, crouch.

Synonym study

1. See bend1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for stooping

Contemporary Examples of stooping

Historical Examples of stooping

  • Philothea was stooping to unlace her sandal, and she immediately picked it up.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Mrs. Bines, stooping, took the limp and wide-eyed Paul up in her arms.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Hubertine did not reply, but, stooping, lifted her in her strong arms.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Stealthily she rose to a stooping position at the boat's side.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • Blinky snorted and stamped over to the window, stooping to peer at the machine.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

British Dictionary definitions for stooping


verb (mainly intr)
  1. (also tr) to bend (the body or the top half of the body) forward and downward
  2. to carry oneself with head and shoulders habitually bent forward
  3. (often foll by to) to abase or degrade oneself
  4. (often foll by to) to condescend; deign
  5. (of a bird of prey) to swoop down
  6. archaic to give in
  1. the act, position, or characteristic of stooping
  2. a lowering from a position of dignity or superiority
  3. a downward swoop, esp of a bird of prey
Derived Formsstooper, nounstooping, adjectivestoopingly, adverb

Word Origin for stoop

Old English stūpan; related to Middle Dutch stupen to bow, Old Norse stūpa, Norwegian stupa to fall; see steep 1


  1. US and Canadian a small platform with steps up to it at the entrance to a building

Word Origin for stoop

C18: from Dutch stoep, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German stuofa stair, Old English stōpel footprint; see step


  1. archaic a pillar or post

Word Origin for stoop

C15: variant of dialect stulpe, probably from Old Norse stolpe; see stele


  1. a less common spelling of stoup
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for stooping



"bend forward," Old English stupian "to bow, bend" (cognate with Middle Dutch stupen "to bow, bend"), from Proto-Germanic *stup-, from PIE *(s)teu- (see steep (adj.)). Figurative sense of "condescend" is from 1570s. Sense of "swoop" is first recorded 1570s in falconry.



"raised open platform at the door of a house," 1755, American and Canadian, from Dutch stoep "flight of steps, doorstep, stoop," from Middle Dutch, from Proto-Germanic *stopo "step" (see step).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper